The Washington School District scored 97.5 points out of a possible 100 on its Annual Performance Report (APR) released by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
The score is up from last year when the district received 91.7 percent, due to two coding errors. Had that not occurred, the district would have earned a 96 percent last year.
There are five areas in which school districts can earn points — academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rate.
“We are very pleased with how we did and will strive to continue to do as well and even better,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann.
The Washington School District has the highest APR score among K-12 public school districts in Franklin County and ranks very high among districts in St. Louis County.
The 97.5 percent score means the district maintains its accredited status. Districts must earn 70 percent or higher on the APR to be accredited.
In the areas of academic achievement, the district earned all of the points possible, meaning enough students scored in the proficient or advanced levels, in all four content areas of English Language Arts (ELA), math, science and social studies on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests.
Straatmann noted that in English and math, comparisons cannot be made from last year as the data did not include some scores from certain classes due to the state throwing out some tests due to the level of rigor. The state instead used data from previous years for the 2016-17 calculations.
The district’s science data indicates that year-to-year growth increased by a .5 percentage point and social studies scores are in the highest range.
In the area of subgroup achievement, the district earned 75 percent of the points possible in each content area — the same as last year.
This score is based on the performance of students in identified subgroups, which includes those receiving free/reduced price lunch, racial/ethnic background, English language learners and students with disabilities.
“Although we are pleased that the number did not drop, we will continue to explore ways to improve scores for students in those subgroups,” Straatmann said.
In college and career readiness, the district earned 100 percent of the points for a second year in a row.
“We were very excited to see this because it means the district is providing good postsecondary preparation for all students,” Straatmann said.
This score is based on how well students scored on college and career-readiness tests and assessments.
Straatmann said the percentage of students earning qualifying scores at or above the state average on the ACT, SAT, Compass, WorkKeys and ASVAB (armed services vocational aptitude battery) rose from 81.9 percent to 83.2 percent.
The scores of students taking Advanced Placement assessments or TSA (technical skills assessments) also increased from 63.1 percent of 73.1 percent.
“That’s significant and shows the efforts of the high school and Four Rivers Career Center staff in helping students understand the benefits of taking advanced classes and TSA,” she said.
Postsecondary placement data also showed an increase with the percentage of students earning a qualifying score rising from 90.4 percent to 92.4 percent.
Straatmann said this is due to effective follow-up procedures and dedicated staff members in making personal contacts with students six months after graduation.
The district once again earned 100 percent of the points possible for attendance, even though its attendance rate dropped slightly from 91.5 percent last year to 89.3 percent for 2016-17.
Straatmann said flu, flooding and snow all impacted attendance this past year.
She said the staff works continually on monitoring attendance. The goal is to have all students in attendance 95 percent of the days, which is 5 percent higher than the state goal.
For the fifth year in a row, the district earned all 100 points possible for its graduation rate.
Straatmann said the district also increased its four-year graduation rate from 89.8 percent to 91.2 percent. The five-year rate rose from 91.1 percent to 92 percent.
“This shows the district is committed to persistence in assisting students to graduate, even for those students who may require more time for completion,” she said.
Here’s how other K-12 school districts in Franklin County performed on the APR:
Sullivan — 97.1.
New Haven — 96.8.
St. Clair — 83.2.
Meramec Valley — 87.5.
Union — 80.
Straatmann said the district’s high score is a win for students, families and the community as a whole.
“As the target for success continues to rise on an annual basis, the district continues to work hard in developing students with the skills to be successful in college and careers,” she said. “It is our goal to develop well-rounded individuals. The true results of the district’s performance shows that students are ready for future endeavors.”
Straatmann said data by building will be released in December and shared with administrators to set goals.